“Rachel Can Still See” has been published in Phantaxis Issue 7

My new short story, Rachel Can Still See, has been published in Issue 7 of science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis.

Rachel Can Still See is the sixth of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Rachel Can See, Paul, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, The Home Secretary is Safe and Who is Rudolph Fentz? 

All these stories are set in the same world as my forthcoming sci-fi thriller Million Eyes and feature the same mysterious conspirators who take centre stage in the novel.

Rachel Can Still See is a direct sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published last year in Metamorphose Volume 2. It continues the story of Rachel Evans, a girl who experiences troubling alternate memories about world events and her own life. Both stories can stand by themselves, so you don’t have to read the first one to understand the second. However, I’d advise doing so in order to get a full picture of Rachel Evans’ journey.

The first story was longlisted by Inktears in 2015 and won an honourable mention in MetamorphoseThe sequel — prior to being accepted for publication by Phantaxis — won the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup Competition in 2016 and was later highly commended by Writers’ Forum.

Click on the cover image to buy the magazine from Amazon, or click here.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

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“Million Eyes” makes it into the top 20% of the Grindstone Literary Novel Competition

As I continue my tireless search for a literary agent for Million Eyes, it’s great to get some good news from a competition I entered the book into some months back.

It was the 2017 Novel Opening Competition from Grindstone Literary Services, into which I entered the first 1,000 words of Million Eyes. While I didn’t make it into the top 5, I learned when I got my personalised feedback (which every entrant gets in this competition — a great bonus) that I’d made it into the top 20%.

I was super-happy with the feedback I got too. There was a little bit of constructive criticism, but I actually think the recent rewrite I did of the opening remedies most of these points. Some of the highlights from the judge’s feedback were:

One of the most original entries I’ve seen.
This is an intriguing idea, and from what I’ve read so far, seemingly well done. 
Overall, it’s very impressive.

All fantastic to hear. 😀

Next week: did a Japanese department store confuse Jesus with Santa?

My short story “The Bisley Boy” has been shortlisted by Artificium

A nice email dropped in my inbox today. It was from Artificium, an independent publisher that runs short story competitions every spring and summer, and publish an anthology of short fiction, flash fiction and poetry two to three times a year.

The email contained the shortlist for their summer competition and my name was among them! The full title of the story that has been shortlisted is “The Bisley Boy” (Extracts from Margery Ingleby’s journals — Modern English translation).

If anyone’s heard of the ‘Bisley Boy’, you’ll have an idea as to what this story’s about. It’s another Million Eyes short story and is inspired by a famous English conspiracy theory that dates back to Tudor times. I won’t tell you what it is (as it’s technically a big-ass spoiler) but I’ve written an article about it if you want to know!

At the moment it’s just been shortlisted and I believe it gets published in Artificium only if it makes it to the top four. The results are announced at the end of this month — eeek!

This week: Are we any closer to knowing who really killed JFK?

“Million Eyes” updates and the soul-destroying search for a literary agent

I wonder if I write about time travel because of a deep-seated longing to skip the utterly soul-destroying process of trying to pummel into the publishing industry and travel to a point in the future when I’m already there. Dunno. Maybe.

It. Will. Happen. That’s what I have to keep telling myself. It’s what all writers who want to be successful have to keep telling themselves.

Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, my search for a literary agent for Million Eyes has been—so far—fruitless. I’ve submitted to 40 or so agents, nothing positive yet. I could still hear from a few of them because their estimated time for responding isn’t up (and I have the patience of a small child).

I’ve been through a few weeks of tearing my hair out, thinking the book is crap, and doubting that it’s ever going to happen. But then, we all go through that. Even the biggest, most successful authors have gone through that.

Nevertheless, I stopped submitting Million Eyes and took stock. I sought advice from my fellow scribblers at Rushmoor Writers, read them my query letter and opening pages and asked if there was any way I could improve them. Perhaps they’re just not catching agents’ eyes?

The advice I got was great. Mostly they recommended small tweaks to up the intrigue and grab the reader earlier in those opening lines and early pages. They also offered some much-needed words of encouragement: the book is good, and there’s a market for it.

So here I am, confidence resurged, ready to start submitting again. Will this next round of submissions yield any success? Heaven knows, but I’m keeping my chin up and everything crossed.

In other news…

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Did Rudolph Fentz time travel? My short story about the famous urban legend is now published in Storgy Magazine

Who is Rudolph Fentz? was the first of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, way back in 2015 in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine (and it won 3rd prize in their quarterly comp too).

Since that issue of Scribble is long out of print, I’ve been looking for a magazine to re-publish it. Now Storgy Magazine, who published Paul last November, have published Who is Rudolph Fentz? online — which means you can all read it for free!

The story is based on the famous time travel urban legend of Rudolph Fentz (who you can read about here) and centres on a man, Forrest Thomson, determined to get to the truth of who he is and how he ended up in the middle of Times Square in June 1950. But could Forrest be entering dangerous territory as he investigates those responsible?

You can read Who is Rudolph Fentz? by clicking this link to Storgy.

Enjoy, folks, and thank you Storgy Magazine for publishing another of my stories!

Coming soon: Princess Diana had a secret daughter?!

My short story “The Home Secretary is safe” is now published in Phantaxis Issue 6

A new Million Eyes Short Story is now published and available to read in science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis!

The Home Secretary is safe is included in Issue 6, which has just been released. (I’m even named first on the cover – think it’s just alphabetical but still – WHOOP!)

In the story, Cody Evans is taking the train to visit his cousin Rachel (the eponymous star of Rachel Can See, published in Metamorphose Volume 2, and Rachel Can Still See, which will be published by Phantaxis in November).  When bizarre things start happening on the journey, Cody finds himself at the centre of a heinous plot and the unwitting target of assassins…

Click on the cover image to buy the magazine from Amazon, or click here.

Enjoy!

Coming soon: Princess Diana’s secret daughter

TWO “Million Eyes” short stories to be published by Phantaxis Magazine

What a month! After a very slow first half of the year in terms of publication news for the Million Eyes Short Stories, my story Eryl Mai’s Dream just got shortlisted by Dark Tales, and Who is Rudolph Fentz? got accepted for re-publication by Storgy Magazine. Now, within 3 days of one another, I’ve had two further stories accepted for publication by Canada-based science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis!

Phantaxis rejected both The Quiet Invasion and Operation Loch Ness previously, so I certainly wasn’t expecting them to suddenly accept two of my stories. Obviously these ones struck a chord.

The story to be published first is called The Home Secretary is safe and is about a teenage boy who experiences probably the strangest train journey of his life before becoming the unwitting target of assassins. I’m told this story will appear in the August issue of Phantaxis — so not long!

The second story to be published is called Rachel Can Still See, which won the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup 2016 and was highly commended by Writers’ Forum a few months later. This, as you might guess, is a sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published last year in Metamorphose, Volume 2. You don’t have to have read Rachel Can See to understand the sequel, but I’d definitely advise doing so. (There’s a sneak peak of Rachel Can See on Metamorphose’s website, and Volume 2 is currently available to buy half-price.)

I’m told that Rachel Can Still See will be published in the November issue of Phantaxis. So a bit longer to wait for that one but hopefully it’ll be worth it!

Hope you all have a fabulous week! I’m off to Disneyland Paris! 😀

Podcast with Oliver Mell – “Million Eyes”, Black Death conspiracies and Princess Diana’s death

I’ve just taken part in my first podcast! I chatted with Oliver Mell, author of horror novel Godless, about Behind The Curtain, my reasons for creating it, and my forthcoming novel Million Eyes.

We talked specifically about some of the conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries that feature in Million Eyes, as well as whether the Black Death might’ve been a deliberate plot to wipe out the West. We also touched on several other conspiracies that I’ve written about, including the Royal Family being reptilian aliens, Watergate, Karen Silkwood and Princess Diana.

And Oliver’s invited me back at the end of next month to talk more about Princess Diana, since it’ll be the 20th anniversary of her death on 31st August (can’t believe it’s been that long).

Go to this page of Oliver’s website if you’re interested in having a listen!